What the papers say

Gains and Losses

A weekly round up of articles about employment, the labor market, skills training and workforce development. This week’s round up is drawn from The Daily Star. Here is the news for the week ending 9th November, 2017.

This week in the Bangladesh English Press…

The government of Bangladesh continues new initiatives to enhance development. The agriculture sector suffers. New business relationships are nurtured. But some industries face obstacles and slow growth.

Workers demand higher wages. And we see progress on gender rights. Also, banks takes new steps to help marginalized people.

Government and Sustainable Growth

The Government signed two agreements with the Washington-based World Bank totalling $457 million. The amount can be used to develop private sector-led infrastructure projects and in the Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project.

Participation of both public and private sector is a must for implementation of the SDGs, said participants at a conference on “Partnering for reduced inequalities: How business can contribute to the UN SDGs” organised by Grameenphone and Telenor.

An analysis of the investment environment in Bangladesh suggests the Government should invest in infrastructure and improve the business environment. These steps will help Bangladesh become a middle income country by 2021.

In a more in-depth analysis a new study suggests Bangladesh requires an additional amount of $928.48 billion to implement the SDGs.

Read the complete Development Finance Assessment here.

Trade and Business

The leather and footwear sector will host the very first three-day mega international show to display products for international buyers.

Dhaka has offered Australian investors an exclusive economic zone. Australia is an important trading partner of Bangladesh.

Export of garments from Bangladesh to the US has seen a slowdown in growth in recent months. India’s garment sector is tough competition.

Doing Business Index placed Bangladesh in the 177th position out of 190 countries in the world. It is a step back from last year’s position.

Japanese Honda Motor Company is investing $29 million in a new joint venture plant in Bangladesh. This will meet growing demand, make motorcycles affordable, and create job opportunities.

Bangladesh’s Rural Power Company Ltd and Norinco International of China will build two power plants in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Terry Towel and Linen Manufacturers and Exporters Association faced a decline since 2011. Export and smuggling of bulk amount of cotton waste is one of the major reasons.

Six new denim mills are to be established in Bangladesh within 2 years. This is due to the increasing demand for the fabric.

The government has decided to import 100,000 tonnes of sugar to increase its stock and keep the prices stable.

Ups and downs in the agriculture sector

Farmers in Kishoreganj enjoy profits from early cultivation of potato. The normal season begins in mid-December.

More than 1,000 acres of land have been waterlogged due to the blockage of the Bhatbaur canal. This has affected over 500 farmers.

Mro community shifts towards cattle farming in the hilly Bandarban regions. It is an easy business for most. On the other hand, many farmers and cattle owners in Dinajpur and Rangpur have sold their cattle due to a fodder crisis.

A tomato disease called ‘stoke’ has become widespread in Bagerhat. Likewise, Aman crops in eight upazilas of Patuakhali have also been attacked by insects. Local pesticides are not working. Both producers and buyers will suffer.

Flood leads to a shortage of Aman output. As a result, rice output will decline. Farmers will face economic hardships.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) seized 21 cattle traders’ cows in Sadar upazila. This will result in capital loss and poverty for traders.

Detective Branch (DB) of Police took one metric ton and 50 kg adulterated fertilizer in custody from Dinajpur.

Bangladesh Agricultural Machinery Importers are interested in agricultural mechanization. They want to import machinery that is more appropriate for the country.


A daylong conference on SDGs will be held in the capital next month. It will raise awareness on issues related to SDGs.

A two-day social business summit started in Paris on 6th November. Collaboration and the sharing of best practices around social business and its positive impact was discussed at the summit.

The common goal of the delegates at the Asai Pacific – Information Superhighway  conference was to encourage and foster easier and more affordable access to broadband internet. The IT sector has created many employment opportunities.

Labour force

IndustriALL and UNI, two global labour union federations, have filed a case against two well-known fashion brands. The allegation suggests slow implementation of measures incorporated in the Accord, and identified numerous issues in the supply chain.

A worker died after falling off a four-storey building under construction in Chittagong.

ILO experts will meet with the Bangladesh government to discuss the amendment of the labour law.

Workers and employees of Pabna Sugar Mill Ltd demanded an increase in wages along with a fixed minimum wage at 8500 Taka.

Gender issues

While Satkhira District Child Marriage Prevention Committee has prevented 61 child marriages, it has also failed to prevent 151 others. The committee is very prompt in its work.

Bangladesh progressed significantly in gender parity according to the  a World Economic Forum  report. However, it’s not a simple picture. Outstanding performances on some parts of the index have hidden poorer performances in other areas.

Read the full Global Gender Gap Report here.

Bank loans increase

Default loans in the SME sector have increased significantly. SME loan disbursement of thirteen banks has exceeded their target in just six months. This aggressive lending makes the central bank uneasy.

The central bank motivates domestic and foreign banks to provide finance to the farm sector, women entrepreneurs, youth people and SMEs.

The agent banking network provides banking services to people’s doorsteps in remote areas. The number of female customer accounts grow quickly.

Many underprivileged people benefited when public banks started  opening the 10  Taka accounts in 2010.

Save the Children and Bangladesh Bank started a bank account programme for street and working children in 2014. Deposits in street children’s accounts have since increased.

And that’s the news for the week ending 9th November, 2017.